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Smith on settling in with the Maple Leafs

by Chris Lund / Toronto Maple Leafs



MapleLeafs.com caught up with forward Ben Smith following practice on Tuesday. Here's what he had to say...

How are you adjusting to life as a Maple Leaf after a little over a week?

It's always a hectic time. I've had the experience of being traded once before. That always helps is knowing what it's going to be like, meeting a whole new group of people and new team. I'm really enjoying my time here in Toronto. It's a great city, I have some family here and it's closer to home in Connecticut so it has been nice and it's been nice to get some minutes and show what I can do.

How have you found the adjustment to the tactics and the minutes you're playing?

It's a transition. The minutes you love, you're never going to say no to minutes. The X's and O's and the system was probably the biggest transition and it's still a process here as we go. It has definitely improved every game, trying to be in the right spots and just trying to be predictable for each other and play well defensively.

What has made your line with Laich and Greening effective?

A lot of things, but I think just the fact that we've all been around a little bit, we've played some pro hockey and just, as I said, trying to be predictable and trying to get pucks deep when we can. That's the main thing. When we're winning faceoffs and we're being strong through the neutral zone we're able to get pucks behind their net and from there we're able to get to our cycle, which -- we're three big, solid bodies and we can protect pucks and try to create offence that way.

What do you feel your bread and butter as a player is?

I guess for me it's just trying to be consistent in all three zones. A smart player, trying to do the little things well whether it's block shots, win faceoffs -- do those small things that help the team win. For me, trying to get my offence going here. It's been a couple of years since I was a serious threat offensively. I'm still working on it and I'm trying to bring that back to my game.

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